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You're likely to find Hacıbektaş a bit boring and unexceptional—unless you're there for the lively festival celebrating the town's spiritual namesake in mid-August. Hacı Bektaş Veli founded a Muslim sect here in the 13th century that was a synthesis of Sunni and Shiite thought, blended with a touch of Christianity. He became the spiritual leader of the Janissary warriors of the Ottoman Empire and gained a following of dervishes (Bektaşis or Alevis) as well as some considerable political influence. The three-day festival celebrating him begins on August 16th each year and is a colorful, popular affair with Sufi dancing and music in the streets. The souvenir shops sell trinkets with pictures of Atatürk, Hacı Bektaş, and the Imam Ali.
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